Daniela Schallert & Manuela Vollmann
I would like to see women and men taking parental leave equally to create new models for work-life balance. And of course, I would like to see equal and fair salaries regardless of gender.
Manuela Vollmann and Daniela Schallert are two successful and competent women who decided to pursue a different form of leadership in order to combine their private and professional lives. Together, they live the pioneering concept of ‘Top Job Sharing’ as executive managers of abz*austria, a social enterprise which strives to support opportunities for work (A – Arbeit), education (B – Bildung) and future (Z – Zukunft) among women.
Ms Vollmann founded the organisation in 1992 hoping to facilitate women’s access to gainful employment. Since then, the enterprise has grown from 5 to nearly 140 employees, with more than 40 projects working with 7000 women each year. As a result, abz*austria has become the biggest women’s organisation in Austria, acting as an interface between women, education, private businesses and decision-makers in politics.
Daniela Schallert: ‘By living 27 different working time arrangements, we hope to encourage others to live more flexible work-time models as well.’
The longevity and success of the organisation come from the regular adaptation to work-life challenges, and from a profound knowledge of labour market policy structures. Internally, abz*austria benefits from 27 different working time models, allowing all employees to manage their lives more easily.
Manuela Vollmann and Daniela Schallert have promoted and represented such models for a long time. They strive for a better work-life balance and value experience and know-how, bringing sustainability as well as profitability to the organisation. abz*austria’s model is described in German on the organisation’s website.
Manuela Vollmann: ‘Gender equality offers new chances, new perspectives and is a big advantage to companies.’
Both women are recognised as gender and diversity experts and are asked to speak at events, presentations and discussions, as well as for media. They are also currently responsible for developing gender and diversity standards for the National Strategy on Lifelong Guidance, and conduct training sessions on a regular basis for employees, individuals and companies.
The innovative character of abz*austria has earned the organisation numerous awards. In 2012, for instance, abz*austria won the European Social Fund Award for Innovation, as well as the Austrian State Award for Adult Education. In addition, in March 2013, Manuela Vollmann was honoured by the city of Vienna with the Golden Merit Award acknowledging her long effort to fight for the equality of women and men in the labour market.